Scientific Research

Research on the Transcendental Meditation programme in educational settings during the past 38 years has found a wide range of practical benefits for students, teachers, and schools. Students who practice the technique are able to focus better in class, enjoy increased creativity, self-esteem and tolerance. Teachers report that they are less stressed, have more energy and value the health benefits they gain. Over the entire school a number of benefits occur, including:

  • Noticeable improvements in the social atmosphere of the school
  • Major declines in violence, bullying, substance abuse and vandalism
  • Significant reductions in behavioural problems and learning difficulties
  • Improvements in academic results
  • Increased student attendance

The Stress Epidemic & a Solution

  • The stress epidemic amongst students

    “A stressed child cannot learn….what we know about Transcendental Meditation is that it reduces stress. Not just because we can see it but because we can measure it.”
    (3 min)

  • Brain plasticity and Transcendental Meditation

    "If you want a creative mind you need a creative brain. If you want a calm and alert mind you need a restful and alert brain."  An explanation of  what happens to the brain when someone practices TM
    (15 min)

  • Teenagers cope with stress using TM

    Dr William Stixrud, Neuropsychologist from Washington D.C, describes how Transcendental Meditation helps children and teens cope with stress
    (3 min)

  • Results from the American University study

    This study found that TM changed how the brain functioned in a positive way. Now he brain is able to support greater breadth of vision, being able to deal with stress and the demands of college
    (2 min)

Stressed children cannot learn

Stress and the student brain

Stress, whether caused by or in the form of – pressure, fatigue, poor diet, alcohol or drug use – damages neural connections between the brain’s prefrontal cortex (“CEO”) and the rest of the brain.

When a student is overtired or under prolonged mental or physical stress, the brain bypasses its “higher”, more evolved, rational frontal executive circuits and instead starts using its more primitive stimulus/response pathways. As a consequence, the child responds to daily demands without thinking; he or she makes impulsive, shortsighted decisions. Basically the student’s fight or flight response is activated. During this time when the CEO goes “off-line,” strong emotions such as fear and anger take over, adversely colouring the student’s view of the world.

How TM optimises the student’s brain

Transcendental Meditation provides the experience of ‘restful alertness,’ which reduces stress, strengthens communication between the brain’s prefrontal cortex and different areas of the brain, and develops total brain functioning. As a result, the meditating student displays stronger executive functions, with more purposeful thinking and more effective and farsighted decision-making. When the CEO is fully ‘on-line,’ the emotional response to the world is more balanced and appropriate.

Do all meditation practices improve the functioning of the whole brain?

No. According to the research, different meditation techniques produce different effects on the mind and body – just as different medicines affect the mind and body differently. EEG and brain imaging show that only during Transcendental Meditation the brain is enlivened and the whole brain is integrated. ‘Mindfulness,’ ‘visualisation,’ or ‘concentration’ techniques enliven isolated areas and functions of the brain.

How to overcome stress

  • Peer-reviewed research

    "One of the things about TM that I've been particularly impressed with is the amount of quality research that's been done”
    (2 min)

  • TM: A summary of research

    Dr Hagelin gives a summary of the wide-ranging benefits of TM and explains how it is possible that a simple mental technique improves all areas of life
    (8 min)

  • How to overcome stress

    Dr Oz, Vice-Chair and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University, explains the research on how TM reduces stress and stress-related disorders
    (6 min)

  • Neurologist explains TM

    Dr Kaplan, an associate Professor of Neurology at the New York Medical School, explains the mechanics of the TM technique
    (3 min)

More than 600 scientific research studies confirming the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation technique for the mind, body, behaviour, and society have been conducted in 34 countries and at 250 independent research institutions and universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, UCLA Medical School and Otago Medical School.

Research covering a broad spectrum of fields including both education and health have been conducted on the Transcendental Meditation technique and published in leading peer-reviewed journals. In the USA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have awarded over 30 million dollars in research grants for studies on the effects TM has on health and well-being. Collectively, it has been found that Transcendental Meditation is the most effective programme for promoting good health and reducing health-care utilisation and medical expenses.

How is this possible? The answer is both simple and logical. Doctors recognise that approximately 90% of disease is either caused or complicated by stress. So, if there was a simple way to dissolve accumulated stress this would have wide-ranging benefits for both the prevention and cure of disease. Transcendental Meditation has been shown to reduce and eliminate stress and, subsequently as doctors predicted, significant wide-ranging health benefits are gained by those individuals who practice the technique.

Selected Studies on Education & Transcendental Medtitation

Selected Studies on Health & Transcendental Medtitation

Bibliography

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